Ask the Expert: Do the hours worked by family members count on an Eagle service project?

The Eagle project—that last mile on the long, satisfying climb toward Scouting’s highest honor—tests a boy’s ability to organize a meaningful service project and then lead his peers in its completion.

It’s all outlined in the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project workbook, available here (link opens PDF).

The “leading others” element of the project was on the mind of Dave Lannom of the Middle Tennessee Council recently.

Here’s his question:

Can the hours worked by family members of an Eagle candidate be counted in his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project?

What if the candidate has siblings in the Scout troop or Venturing crew? Can those hours be counted?

First, let’s clarify one thing. There is no minimum number of hours required for an Eagle project.

Yes, a boy must record the number of hours that he and each participant worked, but there’s no required number. The workbook specifically states, “The length of time spent should be as adequate as is necessary for you to demonstrate your leadership of two or more individuals in planning and carrying out your project.”

In other words, a boy should consult his Scoutmaster, Coach, or Advisor to determine whether the time planned will be “adequate.”

But which names should be recorded in the workbook? The instructions tell boys to record “Scouts, Venturers, or Other Individuals” who participate in the project. That can include family members, says Christopher Hunt, team leader of advancement at the BSA. Here’s what he told me:

The requirement simply indicates the Scout must give leadership to others.

It does not say who the “others” may or may not be. Neither does it say how many others are to be included; thus it simply must be at least two.

Long story short, Dave, the answer is: Yes, a boy should record the efforts of his siblings just as he would any project volunteer.

Thanks for the question!

Your turn:

Have a puzzling, Scouting-related question? Send me an e-mail, and I’ll try to track down an answer. Just put “Ask the Expert” in the subject line.

10 thoughts on “Ask the Expert: Do the hours worked by family members count on an Eagle service project?

  1. Glad to know that siblings can be recorded. As my oldest son is coming to this stage of his Eagle Scout Project it is good to know that his Webelos brother can be counted as he helps, which in turn helps his brother work on his Community Service!

  2. I think it’s a great question, and let’s be honest: sometimes managing a sibling can be even harder than managing a peer / younger scout. I know this has been discussed, but I always ask job candidates that include Eagle Scout on their resume about their Eagle project. If I had a candidate that talked about managing peers, younger scouts, adults, and siblings to a successful result, I’d consider that a pretty significant achievement.

  3. Bryan, that was a good response. Mine would have been, “Why not.” When I review Eagle books before heading to the Board of Review, I expect to see family members names in the list of hours worked. I have rarely seen a project when the whole family is not involved in helping their son/brother complete his project. Some projects I have reviewed had non-Scouting families from their church participating as well. One of the questions I like to ask during the Board is, “How was it giving directions to adults.” It is good to see how they deal with non-scouts during the project as we all have occation in the Job when we are leading older, more experienced people.

    • Very good point, Ken. If we’re helping Scouts be “Prepared. For life.” then they’ll need to know how to work with people of different ages, genders, and backgrounds.

  4. I don’t think that it should be assumed that family will be working on a project any more than one should assume that the fellow scouts in a troop will be part of your working party. A Life Scout should treat every single volunteer as someone who has lots of other things to do with their time, but who are choosing to spend it with him on his project.
    After the project, the Life Scout should make sure that he give a hearty thank you to everyone who supported the project, even (perhaps especially) siblings.

  5. That is an excellent point. I am an Eagle Mentor for our Troop. It has always been very helpful for a Life Scout doing his Eagle Project to ask siblings, parents, friends, relatives, etc. to help with a project. The scout learns to lead people of various ages. They usually tells what they learned from the experience and how they felt about it. This is such an exciting time to see how the Life Scout has grown and matured along the Trail to Eagle, esp. when you’ve worked them for the long haul. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years.

  6. Pingback: Ask the Expert: Can Scouts earn service hours outside of the troop setting? « Bryan on Scouting

  7. Pingback: Ask the Expert: Can Scouts earn service hours outside of the troop setting? | The David Thuis Blog

  8. Pingback: Ask the Expert: Can Scouts earn service hours outside of the troop setting? | Central Florida Council | Boy Scouts of America

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